I am aware that there are forms of therapy that can help with traumatic memories and their resulting thoughts and questions, keeping them from causing serious problems in one's life. However, I am not so unrealistic as to think there is anything that can ever completely wipe them from memory. With that reality in mind, I find it is best to not deny their existence.
At times, when I think of my sweet Jalayne, the image of her in the pool comes, uninvited, to mind. Close on it's heals is the thought of her last moments on earth. Did my baby wonder "where's my mommy?" Did she question why isn't my mommy helping me?" Did she think, even for one second, that I had forsaken her? These questions come at random times, like a kick in the stomach. The pain from this question snatches the air from my lungs and drops me to my knees. There are two people that I have shared this thought with and both reminded me that Jesus or His angels were there for her. There is comfort in this thought and yet, I am her mother, I should have been there for. She had to have wondered where I was. Didn't she? For nearly 8 months this horrific thought has plagued me, creating dreadful images in my mind, waking me in the night, leaving me weak from anxiety. Many times I have feared that it would be this thought that would push me over the edge of sanity.
This question threatens the deepest of female instincts instilled in both man and beast, the primal need to protect our young. It screams failure and inadequacy in one of my most important roles, the role of motherhood, second only to my role as christian. Something inside of me quells at the possiblity that my child for one moment may have thought that I was not there to rescue her. My heart, so full of love for my sweet little girl, cannot bear this thought.
Last week my aunt called me and we talked for quite some time on the phone. I expressed this thought to her and she reminded me that no matter how much I loved her, Jesus loved her even more. This thought brought great comfort to me. It seems that simply knowing that He was there to welcome her was not enough. But to be reminded that my love pales in comparrison to that of our Saviour gave me a new vision. It occurs to me that it is rather vain of me to even think that she would still long for her mama in the presence of Her Jesus. Laynee was viewing, for the first time, a place and a face more beautiful than anything known to this earth. She found love in it's purest form.
Even with this new, comforting thought, which I've always known, but needed to hear again, I still struggled. I'm not even sure what it is I struggled against. Perhaps a need to express my love for her. Perhaps a need to forgive myself for not being there at the pool. Perhaps to forgive myself for the latch on the gate that never seemed to work properly and we had become lackidaisical. Perhaps the struggle is with the fact that I had felt the need to hand wash the car that evening, instead of playing exclusively with her. Obviously I struggle with my own human weakness and shortcomings. Regardless of the reason, I could not release the agony that came from the question I thought she may have asked....."where is my Mommy?"
After talking to my aunt, even with the new comfort of knowing how Jesus loves her, these thoughts plagued me with renewed force. Until one morning, in the quiet solitude of my home, after all the children were off to school, I cried out to my God in a mixture of sorrow, anger, and remorse. I begged God to tell her how sorry I am that I wasn't there. God in His peaceful way spoke to my heart saying, "you weren't there but I was. I did not take her from you, I brought her to me." In my unwillingness to let it go, I foolishly challenged God with "I don't think you know how much I love her." To this He quietly replied "I loved her more." I pratically screamed at God " I would have given my life for her!!!!!" In a final, climatic moment of understanding and peace, Jesus said "I alreay did."
Greater love hath no man than this,
that a man lay down his life for his friends.